WHO WE ARE

We are a network of independent, highly successful rare disease business leaders and experts.


José Albuquerque - Senior Advisor

José Albuquerque is a seasoned executive from Biotech and Pharma business, that developed his career in Portugal and at European level.

During his 35 years in Pharma and Biotech business, José Albuquerque has made strong achievements in launching products, developing business, coaching and managing people and leading companies.

Started his long career at MSD - Merck Sharp and Dohme, where he developed his core knowledge on Pharma business in multiple positions, during almost 20 years. In 2002 moved to Novartis, as Director of Sales, quickly stirred to international positions, becoming Head of General Medicine for Spain and then to Novartis Headquarters.

Meanwhile in 2006 accepted the challenge to set-up Celgene in Portugal, as General Manager, leading the organization from 2006 to 2012. Since 2013 has been managing his own Pharma company - Mernovis. 

José Albuquerque was the Secretary General of P-BIO, the Portuguese Bioindustry Association, maintaining contacts with Portuguese start-ups in different sectors including life-sciences, EuropaBio and the Orphan Drugs working group (started in Portugal by José Albuquerque in 2012).

José has an MBA from IE Business School, Spain.


Franck Auvray - Senior Advisor

Franck Auvray is a Biopharmaceuticals executive with more than 25 years of commercialization, leadership and market access expertise. He has held various sales & marketing positions in Virology, Oncology  and Haematology at Roche France.

Then he joined Celgene as commercial leader to further develop the French affiliate. In 2011, Franck is appointed VP, General Manager of Celgene France. His commitment : developing the skills of its teams within a collaborative ecosystem based on Celgene's values ​​and the culture of feedback, as well as meeting the complex market access challenges of  the French market.

In addition, Franck AUVRAY is a member of the Board of Directors of AGIPHARM as well as LEEM, where he also leads the e-Health Commission.

In August 2018, the Board of KITE Pharma Inc., a biotechnology company developing CAR-T cells, asked Franck AUVRAY to join the group in order to create their French subsidiary.

Then he decided to create AD'sf Partners to counsel pharmaceutical companies and their leaders in their developments, organisations and strategic approaches.

AD'sf Partners, represented by Franck AUVRAY, takes over the management of PharmaBlue,  subsidiary of BlueReg group, a pharmaceutical “Exploitant” licensed by ANSM, which helps pharmaceutical companies make their medicines available to French patients either within the framework of ATU is in the context of marketing after obtaining the MA.


Jordi Badia - Founding Partner

With a successful business career in life sciences spanning over 25 years, Jordi is a seasoned international executive experienced in running biopharmaceutical businesses globally.

Prior to becoming a consultant, Jordi spent several years at Alexion Pharmaceuticals as its European commercial head and general manager. He played a critical role in the set up and expansion of Alexion, as well as in the launch of Soliris® (eculizumab) in the EMEA Region. Jordi joined Alexion after working as the head of global marketing at Almirall, where he managed the company’s product portfolio globally and led the establishment of its commercial operations in Europe and Latin America. Additionally, Jordi worked at Abbott Laboratories’ global headquarters in Chicago, where he drove the international launch of Synagis® (palivizumab) in his position as global brand leader. Before working for Abbott, he spent eight years at Novartis, initially as a corporate financial controller at its headquarters in Basel, Switzerland, and later as Novartis’ China business development director at its Beijing office.

Jordi received an MBA from the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University at Bloomington. He was recognized for his international academic excellence with a Kelley’s Global Achievement Award. Jordi also earned a license of law from Universidad de Barcelona School of Law.

Jordi is a member of the faculty at the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University. His research and teaching focus on business economics and public policy issues regarding rare diseases and the biopharmaceutical ecosystem. He also serves on the advisory board of the Kelley School’s Center for the Business of Life Sciences. Jordi is a member of the Luxembourg Business Angel Network. He has been a member of the Barcelona Bar Association since 1990.


Mark Barrett - Partner; UK, Ireland & Middle East

Mark has more than 30 years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry, with the last 15 years working specifically on orphan and ‘ultra-orphan’ medicines. He has a proven track record in product development, sales, marketing and business management, as well as international experience across medical device and ethical pharmaceutical products. He has a deep understanding of the challenges faced by rare disease patients.

In 2014, Mark founded Orphan Insight Ltd., a specialty consulting firm that provides support to companies looking to enter the rare disease market and those already in this market. Clients include GSK, Raptor Pharmaceuticals, Insmed, Prosensa, BioMarin and NPS Pharmaceuticals.  

Prior to becoming a consultant, Mark spent seven years at Alexion Pharmaceuticals as managing director for the UK and Ireland. He established UK and Ireland operations for this US-based company with the primary objective of commercialising Soliris® (eculizumab) in that region. Soliris was successfully launched for the treatment of two different conditions, achieving commercial targets despite significant market access barriers.

Before joining Alexion, he was general manager at Orphan Europe, where he was responsible for all operations in the UK and Ireland in multiple therapeutic areas for rare and very rare conditions. Mark previously served as general manager of Profile Pharma Ltd., where he was responsible for the development, licensing and commercialisation of Promixin® (colistimethate sodium).

Mark shares his expertise with many different groups. He is a member of the Department of Health’s working group on the development of the UK National Strategy for Rare Diseases. Mark serves on the management committee of Rare Disease UK, a multi-stakeholder group focused on improving quality of life for rare diseases patients. He is a member of the NICE (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) stakeholder group on the development of the Highly Specialised Technology assessment process. In addition, he served as co-chair of ABPI Orphan Medicines Industry Group from 2009 to 2014.


Jean Caraux - Senior Advisor

Jean Caraux, M.D., Ph.D., is a biotech/pharma industry executive with broad and successful experience in the commercialization, operations and strategic development of orphan therapies for unmet medical needs in multiple therapeutic areas. He has a proven track record of successful revenue and profit growth.

Jean’s career spans over 40 years. Before focusing on investment and consulting, Jean played a critical role at Celgene in setting up its French affiliate. He then successively represented Europe and Asia Pacific as a vice president focused on strategic development of the portfolio.

Prior to joining Celgene, he served in Paris as medical director for Amgen, in addition to consulting for and investing in promising European biotech companies. Before working at Amgen, Jean led the international clinical development of the Pasteur-Mérieux therapeutic branch in Lyon, France.

Jean was trained as an M.D. and Ph.D. He became a successful scientist in immunology oncology — leading a research laboratory (Unité INSERM) at the age of 33, with focus on NK cells, cancer, transplantation, molecular biology and monoclonal antibodies.

Jean has developed a superior strategic aptitude, deep understanding of key companies and industry trends, as well as a robust knowledge of the success factors and the right environment for developing and commercialising innovative therapies.

Jean’s scientific and business acumen in a broad set of therapeutic areas help him judge the relative potential of competing technologies and therapeutic approaches. He is well versed in the new scientific frontiers (i.e. targeted therapy, immunology, cell therapies, genomics). His background in business, medicine and science give him the unique ability to interact with business leaders as well as R&D teams.

Jean has developed expertise in a broad set of therapeutic areas, such as oncology and hematology, nephrology, inflammation, bone and metabolism.


Siham Ceballos - Senior Advisor

Siham is an International Medical Executive with academic, corporate and consultant experience of more than 15 years in innovative Biotech and Pharmaceutical companies.

Among other achievements, Siham set up two international medical organizations in Europe for Celgene and Alnylam, where she established the medical strategy, operations and capabilities.

Siham led several prelaunch and launches in oncology/ immunology/haematology, NS and rare diseases, including Sutent in Pfizer, Revlimid in Celgene, Tecfidera and Plegridy in Biogen and Patisiran in Alnylam.

Siham has a strong track record in building partnership with international experts for clinical development and she contributed significantly to the success of several international pivotal trials.

As internal and external consultant Siham covered portfolio optimization, partnership management and due diligence for Wyeth, Sanofi and Novartis.

Prior to her time in bio-pharmaceutical companies,  Siham was a scientist at the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research in London where she identified a family of p53 related proteins involved in Cell aging and cancer.

In her spare time, Siham is a mentor for start-up such us Abionic and Nanolive.

Siham holds a Master degree in Cellular and Molecular Physiopathology and a PhD in cellular and molecular oncology from the University of Pierre and Marie Curie, Paris. She earned an executive MBA in ESSEC Business School, Paris.


Alain Coppex - Partner; Switzerland

Pharmacist by education (Master in Sciences – Federal Diploma of Pharmacy, University of Lausanne, 1993), Alain founded Seventeen Pharma Sàrl in 2015, with the objective to help Orphan Drugs companies to understand and to realize the Swiss market opportunity in a pragmatic and efficient way, with ad-hoc partners.

Not being an EU member, Switzerland is often out of the radar screen of biotech companies launching a new product in Europe. The consequence is that Swiss patients suffering with Rare Diseases unfairly get access to new therapies later than patients from other countries. Seventeen Pharma is here to support these companies to better prioritize Switzerland in their launching sequence, to understand how to approach and to structure their Swiss business, and thus allow Swiss patients suffering from Rare Diseases to get access to new therapies as quickly and efficiently as possible. In this context, Alain has been (and still is for some) partnering with Amicus, Chiesi (ex-Raptor, ex-Horizon), Alnylam, Biogen, PTC and Effik for example.

Alain brings > 20 years of Sales, Marketing and Management experience in the pharmaceutical industry, with a special focus on Rare Diseases over the last 12 years. He has a thorough experience and understanding of the Swiss pharmaceutical market, both as an independent and as an employee of highly specialized Orphan Drugs biotech companies:

1994 – 2006: various sales, marketing and managerial positions at Lilly Suisse SA and Novartis Pharma Schweiz AG.
2006 – 2015: Country Director (Switzerland) to Senior Director and General Manager (Switzerland and BeNeLux) at Shire and NPS Pharmaceuticals
2015: creation of Seventeen Pharma Sàrl

During his 8 years with Shire, Alain was responsible for 4 products in the Rare Diseases field (Fabry Disease, Gaucher Disease, Hunter Disease and HAE), including 3 launches. With a special mention to extensive KOLs’ management, mainly in Switzerland, where he could develop long term relationships with key stakeholders, national screening initiatives and partnerships with Patients’ Organizations.

Alain is providing the Orphan Now network with an in-depth knowledge of the Swiss market and its highly specialized ecosystem. Alain is based close to Montreux, in the French speaking part of Switzerland. He is fluent in French (mother tongue), English and German.


Giuseppe Codonesu - Senior Advisor

Giuseppe is a senior finance professional with more than 20 years of international experience in the pharma and biotech industry.

During this period he built and managed teams of various size and developed a proven track record of success, having held various management positions with increasing responsibilities at domestic, regional and corporate level.

At Merus, a clinical-stage immuno-oncology company listed at NASDAQ, Giuseppe served as Vice President Finance Operations, overseeing all financial operations, treasury, tax and internal controls.

Prior to joining Merus, Giuseppe was Vice President Finance EMEA at Raptor Pharmaceuticals (now Horizon Therapeutics), a biotech company listed at NASDAQ specialized in rare diseases, where he lead the finance function for the region and, as key member of the European management team, he contributed to the rapid growth of the commercial operations driven by the launch of Quinsair™ in cystic fibrosis.

Prior to Raptor, Giuseppe spent several years at Sigma-Tau, a privately owned pharma company, where he held various progressive leadership positions (including Board memberships) both in US and Europe, culminated with the appointment to Chief Financial Officer of the Rare Disease business unit (now Leadiant Biosciences). In this role he co-lead the strategic re-organization of the business unit and played a key role in the sale of its major asset Oncaspar® (indicated for the treatment of ALL) for $900m.

Giuseppe is a passionate business partner, with deep finance experience supporting the commercial, market access, pricing and supply chain challenges, across multiple geographies, that are inherent in bringing medicines for rare diseases to patients who need them. He has a broad expertise in all financial areas, with a strong focus on FP&A, strategic planning and M&A. Superior communication and interpersonal skills, leadership and team building complete his profile.

Giuseppe has a master-degree in Economics and Business Administration from the University of Rome (Italy) and attended an Executive Development Program at Wharton School of Business (University of Pennsylvania).


Steve Crookes - Partner; Business Development

Steve is an expert in business development and emerging markets with strong commercial skills and over 30 years of experience in the healthcare sector, focused on finding partner solutions.

He has a proven track record of success, having worked at a senior level at GSK for over 26 years and been part of the emerging markets strategic growth initiative for GSK that saw record levels of investment and growth. Prior to becoming a consultant, Steve was the vice president and head of business development for GSK’s emerging markets business, responsible for business development across the entire region (Latin America, Asia, Africa, Middle-East and Russia). He built up an impressive array of networks during his tenure.

Steve has experience working in global deal teams across the whole spectrum of the pharma value chain including: R&D early stage deals; late stage tail-end deals; in-licensing/out-licensing of regional and country specific products; commercialization-only deals; company and product acquisitions/divestments and manufacturing rationalisations.
  
Steve has a broad range of product experience from HIV and oncology to cardiovascular and gastrointestinal. His business development expertise has led him to work in other areas such as consumer, dermatology, diagnostics, managed care and animal health.

With a degree in mathematics and computer science, Steve initially trained as a chartered accountant, and then progressed through various operating roles to become the finance support for business development in international markets. He transferred to his commercial business development role in 2000 and then joined the emerging markets management team. He became a business development consultant in late 2012.

Steve’s innovative, creative and flexible mindset — supported by his strong and diligent risk-based approach — has led to the successful conclusion of many deals during his career. He is delighted to bring this approach and his expertise to the orphan drugs arena.


Laurent de Narbonne - Senior Advisor

Laurent is a seasoned executive with 25 years of in biotech and pharma with a specific note with Orphan Drugs during the last 14 years.

With a successful track record in launching numerous drugs from Parke Davis, Biogen (one of the 1st 10 employees there), Octapharma, Intermune, Boehringer-Ingelheim to more recently with Akcea Therapeutics, both on pan EU or local basis, Laurent has created or reshaped several affiliates, attracting top talents during his assignments.

A proven track record over 14 years in delivering strong P&R outcomes during his tenure as Country Manager.

In between Laurent worked several times as a consultant including for investments and VC funds, creating his own consulting boutique since 2004.

He created a cell-based therapy company in 2005, LTKfarma, which was a precursor in CAR T Cell technology.

Laurent is a member of the Rare Disease Group at the French Pharmaceutical Association (LEEM). He has also been an EU Board Member at PPTA (Plasma Protein Therapeutic Association) as well as the Chairman of PPTA France.
Laurent holds a Medical Degree from Paris University Paris V, as well as an Executive MBA from HEC Paris.

He completed his training with a complementary training in oncology in 2014.


Werner Föller - Senior Advisor

Right after obtaining his Ph.D. degree in Biology at the University of Karlsruhe (Germany), Werner joined the pharmaceutical industry more than 30 years ago. Werner worked in the field of orphan diseases from the very beginning in 1987 and has a huge amount of experience in medical affairs, sales & marketing and managing companies. Werner launched over 30 orphan drugs in his career, including several line extensions.

Before becoming a consultant, Werner started his business carrier in the pharmaceutical industry at KabiVitrum in 1987. After several mergers & acquisitions and having served in various positions, he started the company TKT Europe 5S GmbH as the sole employee and GM in Germany & Austria in 1999. Again, after two mergers, Werner was responsible for the operations of Shire HGT at Shire Deutschland GmbH for Germany & Austria.  Between 2008 and 2009, Werner was also responsible for Shire EMS, including the countries Greece, Cyprus, Switzerland, Belgium, Luxemburg, Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden and Finland. Since March 2009, he served as Vice President and General Manager of Shire Deutschland GmbH, Köln (now Berlin) and Shire Deutschland Investment GmbH, Köln (now Berlin). From March 2009 until September 2011, he was a member/Chair of the Supervisory Board of Jerini AG, Berlin. Since 2011, he also held the position of Vice President and GM of Shire Orphan Therapies GmbH, Berlin. At the beginning of 2012, Werner’s responsibility was extended to include Central and Eastern Europe (CEE). In November 2013 Werner was nominated as head of Shire Germany, Austria & Switzerland during the One Shire process. Werner left Shire in July 2017.


Haluk Germeyan - Partner

Haluk is a seasoned healthcare professional with 25 years’ experience in rare and ultra-rare disease & orphan drug, global & country leadership, commercial leadership, P&L management, team building & talent development, strategic marketing, product launch, life cycle management, general management, leading start-up’s, NPP – Named Patient Program and leadership of cross functional teams.

Prior to becoming a consultant, Haluk spent two years at Alexion Pharmaceuticals, Inc based in New Haven, USA as VP, Global PNH Franchise Lead, responsible for leading global marketing & commercial efforts with a long-term vision for PNH Franchise. He led global PNH Life Cycle Management programs and supported development of market entry plan for next generation complement inhibitor ALXN1210 - regulatory, patients advocacy, KOL management, pricing & reimbursement, distribution & competition.

He worked as VP, General Manager at Alexion Pharmaceuticals based in Istanbul. He established Turkey operations of Alexion with the primary objective of commercializing Soliris® (eculizumab). Soliris was successfully launched for the treatment of two different conditions – PNH and aHUS through NPP–Named Patient Program achieving commercial targets despite significant market access barriers. Implemented PSP-Patient Support Program as companywide best practice ensuring physicians & patients receive relevant support to access treatment. Developed successful market entry plans for Strensiq® (asfotase alfa) and Kanuma® (sebelipase alfa).

Before joining Alexion, Haluk was General Manager at IQVIA, a multinational company serving as provider of biopharmaceutical development, commercial outsourcing & consulting services responsible for designing, building & executing comprehensive commercial outsourcing projects & therapy support programs. He established IQVIA from scratch and implemented 30+ projects for healthcare companies.

Haluk has BSc in Pharmacy and MBA from Istanbul University, Turkey. He earned his Ph.D. in Microbiology from Marmara University, Turkey.

He is the author of a book on Product Management - ISBN 3990000014168. He lives in both Boston and Istanbul.


Hans-Peter Halbritter - Senior Advisor

Hans Peter Halbritter looks back on more than 27 years of experience as commercial biopharma executive in the area of severe chronic and rare diseases, including distinct experience in immunology, hemophilia, rare hematology, neurology and critical care. Hans Peter held several national and regional leadership roles as Managing Director at Baxalta and as Director of various Business Units at Baxter, Baxalta and Shire.

In his role as EMEA launch lead of world-leading rare hematology therapies and through a variety of national and international leadership roles he gained a wealth of commercial experience. Hans Peter headed-up large diversified teams, medium-sized marketing and sales organizations, as well as small powerful specialty teams in the field of rare diseases and specialty care.

Over the last few years he has put his leadership focus on organizational change processes to increase commercial efficiency and effectiveness in the framework of corporate spin-off and integration initiatives.  Transformational change leadership and the development of purpose-driven high-performing teams are prominent key topics on his agenda as commercial manager, leader and consultant.
 
Over several years Hans Peter acted as board member of the Plasma Protein Therapeutics Association, PPTA, in Germany. Most recently Hans Peter founded Trisalta GmbH - a Biopharma Consulting firm working with clients in the specialty care and rare disease space.

Hans Peter Halbritter holds a master-degree in Biology from the Ludwig-Maximilians-University in Munich, Germany.


Gerald Hecken-Meißner - Senior Advisor

Gerald is a very senior rare disease business leader with cross-functional executive management experience at national and international levels. He has a proven track record in sales, marketing, business development, market access, strategy and mergers and acquisitions.

Gerald has held general management and executive level positions at German, EU and US NASDAQ-listed companies. He has significant experience in all major ethical pharmaceutical therapeutic areas, especially in oncology/hematology and orphan medicinal products.

A passionate rare disease leader, Gerald has a strong focus on patient benefits, such as early access programmes and swift reimbursement strategies through cooperation with patient advocacy groups, social health insurances and government agencies. He is also known for successful product launches and strategic development of profitable business activities. With more than 10 years of experience in rare diseases, he has worked with companies such as Pharmion, Celgene, Raptor Pharmaceuticals, Horizon Pharma and Chiesi Orphan.

Gerald has extensive experience setting up rare disease operations in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, CEE and other European countries. He excelled at establishing, developing and leading the complete legal and organizational structures, as well as ensuring successful commercialisation of products like Vidaza® (azacitidine), Thalidomide Celgene, Revlimid® (lenalidomide), Procysbi® (cysteamine bitartrate) and Quinsair® (levofloxacin inhalation solution).

His hands-on experience and skills gained during more than 30 years of management are complemented by continuous advanced trainings at highly esteemed academic centers, including Harvard University.


Jiri Hermanek - Senior Advisor

Jiri Hermanek is a BioPharma industry executive with extensive experience in the commercialization of rare disease medications in multiple therapeutic areas, specifically in the region of Central and Eastern Europe (CEE). He has a proven track record of successfully building both national and regional organisations in the CEE region for multiple orphan drug companies, including Genzyme, Alexion and Amicus Therapeutics.

Jiri graduated from the 2nd Moscow Medical University with a Medical Biochemistry degree and completed a Ph.D. at the Czech Academy of Sciences. Before joining the pharmaceutical industry, he successfully pursued a scientific career with numerous publications on the immunology of parasitic infections. Jiri also obtained an MBA from Henley Management School in England.

Jiri’s career in the pharmaceutical industry spans over 25 years. After 12 years at Eli Lilly in various sales and marketing roles of increasing responsibility in different European countries (Czech Republic, UK, Switzerland) he joined Genzyme as General Manager for the CEE region and played a critical role in setting up regional and national organisations of the company. After the Sanofi takeover, Jiri led clinical development at Sotio (a Czech oncology start-up) and then successfully built regional and national presence in the CEE region for Alexion and later for Amicus Therapeutics.

Over the 15 years of working for rare disease companies in the CEE region, Jiri developed a deep understanding of orphan drugs legislation, pricing, reimbursement and market access and became acquainted with an extensive network of key stakeholders in all CEE countries. He led successful market access negotiations, launches and commercialisation efforts of such innovative rare disease treatments like Myozyme for Pompe disease, Soliris for aHUS and Galafold for Fabry disease. 

In 2018, Jiri together with a few other experienced BioPharma professionals from CEE countries established ExCEEd Orphan, a consulting company providing full market entry services for orphan drug companies in the CEE region. Among other projects, ExCEEd Orphan is currently working on bringing the first ever gene therapy for SMA to the CEE market.

Jiri’s scientific background and business acumen in a broad range of therapeutic areas (metabolic diseases, haematology, inflammation, etc.) together with his extensive international experience give him the unique ability to interact with business leaders in the BioPharma industry as well as key stakeholders within the national healthcare systems of individual countries in the CEE region.

Jiri is native in Czech and fluent in English and Russian.


Stuart Hurst - Senior Advisor

Stuart has over thirty years’ experience in the pharmaceutical industry. During this time, he has worked across sales, marketing, public affairs and market access. Stuart started his pharmaceutical career as a regional manager with Servier before moving to  Astra (before the merger with Zeneca) where is roles included NHS Facilitator (an early market access role) and regional controller.

Stuart had a number of roles at Pfizer, starting in sales management before setting up the market access team, one of the first in the UK at that time. Stuart then moved to Brussels and the Pfizer government affairs team there before  joining Eli Lilly as head of their European public affairs office, where he was responsible for a cross functional team covering government affairs, communications, policy development, patient advocacy and corporate responsibility.

More recently, Stuart has focussed on rare disease, firstly with Synageva as VP, European Market Access & Government Affairs, where he took an ultra-orphan medicine from phase III results to being ready for pricing & reimbursement submission in all major markets in nine months. He then joined Akcea as Head of Global Market Access, Pricing and Reimbursement and established the function at global and country level, prior to the launch of an ultra-orphan in mid-2019.

Stuart is now working as an independent consultant supporting biotech companies looking to commercialise medicines for rare diseases internationally. His work includes commercial strategy & sequencing, global market access capacity and competency development and market access due diligence and talent acquisition.


Anders Kärnell - Senior Advisor

Anders Kärnell is a Medical Doctor with more than 15 years of experience in the life science sector spanning vaccines, orphan drugs and development of potential treatments for rare diseases. Anders has broad clinical and international management experience in many therapeutic areas at various organizations. These ranged from small start-up firms to biotech companies and big pharma — encompassing the Nordics, Europe and United States.

Over the last few years, Anders has been owner of his own consultancy company, PharMedCon Europe AB. In this capacity, he supported an orphan drug firm developing an innovative lifesaving therapy for an ultra-rare disease. Key activities included clinical data analysis and the establishment of pan-European stakeholder network. For another client, Anders was instrumental in the launch of a groundbreaking infectious disease product.

Prior to establishing his own company, Anders spent three years with Alexion as vice president of development and medical affairs in Europe. He led a pan-European team of medical, regulatory and pharmacovigilance associates, building medical expertise around Soliris® (eculizumab) for the identification and treatment of ultra-rare diseases. He enhanced disease awareness and product knowledge by interacting with leading physicians across Europe.

Anders previously served as the Nordic chief scientific officer at Novartis, as well as the European head of medical affairs at PowderJect in the UK. He began his career at SBL Vaccine and Active Biotech in Sweden.

Anders received his medical degree at the Karolinska Institute where he also earned his Ph.D. He obtained his executive MBA at Stockholm School of Economics.


Eric Litjens - Partner Marketing and Commercial Strategy

Eric is a rare disease strategic marketing and commercial leader with more than 10 years of relevant cross-functional management-team experience at regional and international levels. He has a proven track record in product launches, sales, marketing, program management, strategy and mergers and acquisitions with companies like Genzyme, Raptor Pharmaceuticals, Horizon Pharma and Chiesi Orphan.

With senior-level responsibilities at US NASDAQ-listed companies and privately owned international firms, Eric’s experience has focused on innovative and technology-driven orphan medicinal products, as well as medical devices. He has successfully launched products and helped grow profitable business activities, while keeping a nimble organization in mind — whether working for a blue chip company or a start-up.

Eric is passionate about rare diseases and the importance of sustainable access for patients and continuity of treatment. He has hands-on experience setting up rare disease operations, building momentum and clinical experience, as well as starting sales in European countries and the United States.

Eric has an MSc in Chemistry (Biochemistry/Tumor Immunology) from Radboud University, Nijmegen, The Netherlands. He earned his Ph.D. from the Faculty of Medicine in Haemostasis/Platelet Biochemistry from Utrecht University, The Netherlands.


Samer Saadeh - Partner

With more than 15 years of experience in fast-growing and specialized pharmaceutical companies, Samer is a business leader that is passionate about building successful pharmaceutical organizations.

Until joining Orphan Now, Samer spent 7 years at Alexion Pharmaceuticals in numerous positions in the EMEA region. During these years, he has been at the forefront of the launch of Soliris®, Strensiq® and Kanuma® across multiple geographies. Most recently, he headed a cluster of 35 countries in Europe as VP for the Mid-Size markets, contributing to double-digit topline growth over several years. Previously, as general manager for the Middle East and North Africa, he successfully setup and managed the Alexion business for this region based out of Dubai. He has also headed the commercial operations for the EMEA group helping setup the commercial infrastructure and build-up across the emerging markets in Europe.

Prior to Alexion, Samer spent several years at Eli Lilly’s Pan-European Critical Care group. As Key Account Manager for Switzerland, he contributed to the launch of their break-through products, Reopro® and Xigris® for the treatment of cardiovascular disease and severe sepsis.  In his previous role as Content Manager at Eli Lilly, he spear-headed their internal and external digital communications strategy across Europe.

Samer has an MBA from HEC Paris and a dual bachelor of science degree in Economics and International Relations from the University of Virginia.


Rudolf van Olden - Partner; Medical Affairs

Rudolf is a very senior medical professional with 20 years of in-depth experience in the pharmaceutical industry, including the field of rare and ultra-rare diseases. He has a very broad medical knowledge and hands-on experience in most therapeutic areas.

Rudolf worked as medical director within Lilly and GSK as well as Raptor, Horizon and Chiesi Orphan in the EMEA region. As an all-round pharmaceutical physician, he was responsible for more than 20 launches of different medicines and vaccines. He is an experienced leader in medical affairs, medical information, clinical operations, regulatory and pharmacovigilance.

Medical affairs strategy development — from pre-launch to reimbursement — is one of Rudolf’s key strengths. He cares passionately about communicating the benefits of products to health-care professionals in the right way, by leveraging his experience in medical affairs, risk assessment, risk mitigation and compliance. Rudolf has experience in external medical engagement events, phase I-IV studies and investigator-initiated studies.

Rudolf is qualified as an internist-nephrologist and completed his Ph.D. in medicine and pharmacology at the University of Amsterdam. Before joining the pharmaceutical industry, he worked as an internist for seven years in clinical practice at the Academic Medical Center in Amsterdam, where he led the dialysis department. He is a past president of the International Federation of Associations of Pharmaceutical Physicians and got an honorary membership of the Dutch Association of Pharmaceutical Medicine.


Robert-Jan Van Son - Partner; BeNeLux and Nordics

Robert-Jan is a results-driven biotech leader with deep expertise supporting biotech companies by creating (early) market access for innovative drugs launching in Europe, especially in the Nordic and Benelux countries.

With over 25 years of experience, he has been in various management positions with increasing responsibilities in sales, marketing, market access, operations, project leadership and regional management.

Prior to becoming a consultant, Robert-Jan worked for companies such as AstraZeneca, Schering-Plough (MSD) and Celgene. At Celgene, he built the Dutch organization from scratch and re-structured the Nordic organization into a healthy, well-managed team. He then became regional general manger, heading the Nordic and Benelux organization, while also leading a very successful European launch of Imnovid® (pomalidomide).

Robert-Jan also served as COO at MyTomorrows, an Internet platform supporting patients with high unmet medical need. In this role, he helped build a successful start-up organization, optimized the business model, restructured the organization and hired key talent. During his tenure, MyTomorrows gained its manufacturing and wholesaler license for early access treatment (Phase II+ products).

A highly accomplished and results-driven executive, Robert-Jan’s experience is both cross-cultural and cross-functional. He is innovative, and he takes ownership and creates structure where needed. A passionate leader, Robert-Jan’s leadership style fosters mutual trust and respect while encouraging both personal accomplishments and successful teamwork.

Robert-Jan has a medical degree from Utrecht University, and he also trained at Cranfield School of Management at Cranfield University.

Most of his experience is in early access oncology, CNS and (ultra-) rare diseases. He deeply believes that patients should always be put first!


Jeroen Weites - Senior Advisor

Jeroen Weites has more than 30 years experience in both Biotech and Pharma business. He has a proven track record and has held various positions in change management (business transformation) towards a multi-channel approach, global commercial operations, global strategy and gaining market access (HEOR) for both pharmaceutical as also orphan products.  He has built brands that have block buster status.

Prior to becoming a Senior Advisor for Orphan Now, Jeroen has spent 9 years at Sanofi heading up first South Europe cluster, followed by North Europe cluster where he led the business transformation and the established products portfolio towards a new multi-channel and sustainable business model.

Before, Jeroen was heading up renal disease in Europe for Genzyme, was commercial lead early business development at UCB Pharma (HQ, Brussels) in multiple auto-immune (including orphan) disease areas and market access lead at Biogen Idec in Cambridge (USA) for the launch of Tysabri (natalizumab) in multiple sclerosis and crohn’s disease.

Jeroen is passionate about creating access for innovative treatments for patients. He launched over 30 products (including auto-immune (orphan) diseases) in multiple (rare) disease areas.


Marcel Westen - Senior Advisor

Marcel is a very senior professional with 30 years of in-depth experience in the pharmaceutical industry, including the field of rare and ultra-rare diseases. He has a very broad commercial and medical knowledge and hands-on experience in most therapeutic areas.

He started working in the classic pharmaceutical world and builded up a broad commercial experience as sales representative, clinical research associate , district manager, specialist manager and sales manager with AstraZeneca.

In 2002 he made the switch towards the rare disease field with experiences in haemophilia (Aventis Behring) , oncology (TopoTarget – SpePharm) , lysosomal storage disease (Synageva) , cystinosis (Raptor – Horizon Pharma) and retinal disease (Spark)

For these companies he was active as key account manager, sales manager Europe, GM Benelux and acting GM France. In this last position he was involved in ATU mechanisms.

In 2018, Marcel founded Rareconsult.eu, a specialty consulting firm that provides support to companies looking to enter the rare disease market and those already in this market. Clients include Clinigen, Hansa Biopharma and AveXis.
With Spark and AveXis he entered the exciting field of gene therapies.

He is active in the Benelux and in France mostly involved in medical affairs and market access with the accent on KOL management.